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Route 1 Widening Project Breaks Ground

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A stretch of Route 1 notorious for gridlock is about to get wider.
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A stretch of Route 1 notorious for gridlock is about to get wider.

To relieve congestion near Fort Belvoir in Northern Virginia, the Route 1 widening project--one 20 years in the making--is ready to begin.

Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly was among the officials who took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for more lanes along three-and-a-half miles of Route 1 between Mount Vernon Memorial Highway and Telegraph Road. The rush-hour congestion there can be brutal: 80,000 cars a day pass through Fort Belvoir's gates. Connolly says the expansion from four lanes to six is long overdue.

"We can't simply say that a particular road, bridge, or transit service can never be improved because to do so simply encourages people to travel more. That is a circular logic that doesn't work," says Connolly. "We have to add capacity. We've got to make ourselves more efficient."

The Defense Department is contributing $180 million toward the project--because the Base Realignment and Closure Commission sent thousands more military employees to work at Fort Belvoir.

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